Jan 10, 2019 | By Sandy Chu
Jun 09, 2016
For all the times I’ve been to Miami, and I’ve been a lot, never once did I go shopping. Miami to me is a city of indulgence, relaxation and nightlife. When you’re travelling for work however, things change.
I recently had the pleasure of experiencing Miami’s retail scene as a part of WGSN’s North American What’s In Store Tour (I officially took it upon myself to name it that.) So let’s explore the good, the bad and the (seriously?) ugly that Miami has to offer.
Although there are hidden gems all over the city, if you’re on a tight schedule and only have one day to shop, make your way over to the Wynwood district. It has by far the most concentrated number of independent retailers. You won’t find any mall stores here, just a neat smattering of international influences that focus on style and art above all.
A highly walkable neighbourhood, Wynwood revolves around the outdoor mural park, Wynwood Walls, which is a must-see and is FREE which always helps.
After perusing this vibrant scene and snapping up as many Insta-worthy moments as humanly possible ( I think I took about 80 pictures in 20 minutes) pop into the gift shop, which has some of the cutest ‘souvenirs’ in town, read: things to bring back to your friends and family that they will actually want.
Nearby you’ll find a heavy focus on Latin-American produced goods, a theme echoed throughout all of Miami, with boutique owners heavily stocking brands from Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico. This is really the main selling point for shopping in Miami – you won’t find the representation of LATAM brands this highly concentrated anywhere else in the US. It genuinely sets the shopping experience apart from other stateside destinations (which is a constant question we get here at WGSN – “Where should we shop for design inspiration in the US besides New York and LA??”) Well, there you have it.
Have a little more time to explore? Head over to the Design District a little further north of Wynwood. Housing the big name design houses from Prada to Hermes, this consumer mecca is not for the thrifty shopper. If you’re on a budget come to the Design District to take in the inspiring architecture and visual merchandising but save your pennies for other areas. Must-sees for this quick trip include Fendi’s Cuban-inspired facade.
Loewe’s Stone Henge-like sculpture that resides in-store (which is actually an 18th Century Spanish granary)
Once you’ve satisfied your wanderlust for the indie and inspirational, return back to the heart of it all for the bulk of your shopping experience. South Beach offers the highest concentration of shops in Miami, offering core chain retailers, department stores and affordable solutions for that item you forgot to pack. Lincoln Road Mall (which is really just rows-upon-rows of shops in an outdoor walking district) offers the main shopping destination. Littered with choice restaurants, smoothie stands and buzzing bars this area truly makes you feel like you’re on vacation. Be sure to avoid the tacky tourists traps offering rhinestone-encrusted bikini tops and “going-out tops” because there will be some of those too – you’ve been warned.
However, as promised there are some retail gems here in South Beach that are truly not to be missed.
Slightly off of Lincoln Road Mall on Collins Ave you will find The Webster, a revered Miami boutique that stocks top designers and indie faves, residing in an Art Deco masterpiece that looks exactly the way you would want a Miami store to look like. (Neon! Pastel! Classic cars parked out front!)
If it’s menswear you’re craving, be sure to check out BASE, a lifestyle-before-lifestyle-was-a-thing boutique that carries everything from hard to find magazines to designer swim trunks. And just down the block you will find Alchemist, a highly-curated edit of men’s and womenswear that boasts an impressive fifth floor showroom overlooking SoBe from the inside of a concrete parking structure.
Last but not least, because no trip is complete without a new favourite store, pop around the corner of the Lincoln Road Mall to find the retail equivalent of champagne dreams. Sparkle and Shine Darling is more than just a store, it is a treasure trove of all things fun. A perfect place for gifting, this store specializes in the extra touches that make everyday items feel special – from leather-bound notebooks emblazoned with gold-stamped slogans to beach totes that ask “Baby please just chill out for like two seconds?” The store is overtly feminine and fantastical on purpose – it is a one-stop-feel-good-shop, retail therapy at its finest.
Happy hunting in Miami! Do yourself a favour and book a vacation now.
Join us next month as we explore the Hamptons, from exciting pop-ups in Amagansett to surf inspiration in Montauk.
Love shopping? Follow Sidney on her retail adventures here.
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